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This Week: Should I Try Supernatural Again?

This Week, Adam started a Supernatural-related discussion in the writers' room. Appropriate considering that Supernatural was number one in our Doux Top Twenty.

Adam D. Jones: Very Important Question. Should I try Supernatural again?

My wife and I got to season three (I think). I liked the Monster of the Week setup, and for some reason my wife enjoyed watching the actors. But we got to a section where things got dark. Demons every single week. More yelling between brothers and more heavy stuff.

I don't mind being a quitter when it comes to this stuff, but I keep wondering if it gets fun again, or if I should stay out.

Thoughts?

Billie Doux: I'm going to stay out of this one. I'm too much of an SPN fan, and I don't think Jensen Ackles is funny looking. :) Don't worry about hurting my feelings – be honest.

An Honest Fangirl: Full disclosure: Supernatural is my favorite show of all time, and for that reason my answer is almost always "Yes!" But there can be some nuance to that. Demons continue to be a major part of the series going forward. Some seasons are more demon heavy than others, but they're a constant presence with several reoccurring demonic characters. However, season four does start to introduce more and different mythology and factions (and the fan favorite Castiel!)

If you're looking for and wanting the Monster of the Week that focused on things like the Hook Man or poltergeists or things like that when everything was more simple, then you are going to miss that. The overaching season plots definitely get grander and heavier. Season three I recall being particularly dark thanks to the focus on Dean’s impending trip to Hell. This was also during the 2008 Writer's Strike, so production got interrupted and you can see the negative effects of that. But I also always thought that it was "fun" so your mileage may vary.

At the very least, I would recommend getting to the end of season five. That’s everything that Kripke did and the original planned end for the show. If you want to stop there, then things are wrapped up fairly satisfyingly. If you're hooked and want to continue, then you can reevaluate then.

Adam D. Jones: Hmm. I got to Cas, so I must have ventured as far as season four. He is fun. Especially when he just randomly shows up and scares Dean.


Mothra: I am a pretty big SPN fan, but I am not sure I would have stuck with it after just the first few seasons. I am so glad I did, because most of my favorite episodes are in the later seasons. I feel like the showrunners also slowly angled the show toward a more female audience. So as the series went on, there was less of the Winchesters beating up hot chicks who happened to be demons, and more seriously awesome long-running female characters. And if you enjoy the goofy meta episodes, there are plenty more in the later seasons.

Shari: I fall on the side that you should at least watch the first five seasons. It's nearly perfect television in my book. A perfect blend of comedy and pathos with a splash of horror thrown in. I was never much of a horror fan so I preferred the shift towards angels and demons. But at its heart it was all about family and not just the blood relations. While I like the post-Kripke Supernatural it felt like a sequel. Beloved but never quite matching the original.

A few years ago, Billie asked us for a list of our favorite episodes and I was hard pressed to find ones that didn't occur in the first five seasons (Yes, "The French Mistake" and "Baby" made the list). Just my humble opinion, but I think you'd be missing out if you didn't give it a second shot.

Adam D. Jones: I keep wondering if the post-season five is what I'll like better. (Only one way to find out.) I enjoy fun TV. Life is very dark and serious. And annoying. I like my TV shows on the fun side so at least ONE thing is going to work out in a day when everything else came unraveled. That's why early Supernatural was perfect for me. The boys were surely going to hot rod over to a single mother's haunted house, cleverly trick the monster into leaving, and then ride into the sunset jamming to classic rock. Those were good days.

I also miss Lauren Cohen's part on the show, but I've noticed Supernatural has no shortage of pretty brown-haired women. I must have something in common with whoever did the casting. Apparently the road to hell is paved with pretty brunettes, which explains a lot of the mistakes I've made in the past.


Billie Doux: I've decided to check in, after all. Because, Adam, you wrote: "That's why early Supernatural was perfect for me. The boys were surely going to hot rod over to a single mother's haunted house, cleverly trick the monster into leaving, and then ride into the sunset jamming to classic rock. Those were good days."

During the early seasons of Supernatural, the fans split. Some wanted the boys to do exactly what you just said, stick to what they did in the early seasons. Others liked the crazy. While there are always stand-alone hunting episodes, including in the later seasons, much of every season delves into strange new arcs that fit their mythology but are not the boys out hunting to classic rock. So I'm not sure it's for you.

Although as has been said, Kripke meant the story to run for five seasons and end, so it does come to a conclusion of sorts with "Swan Song." There are a lot of exceptional episodes in seasons four and five. FWIW.

Josie Kafka: Adam, there's really only one response about whether you should continue to watch Supernatural:

Carry on, my wayward son.
There'll be peace when you are done.

Juliette: Perfect, Josie! :)

And yes, keep watching. At least to the end of season five. I usually prefer standalone stuff but I actually really like the arc plot stuff on Supernatural.

Adam D. Jones: I'll lay my weary head to rest (on the couch) and try again probably.

This is an interesting notion of TV theory that pops up a lot with shows I like. I was a religiously devoted X-Files fan as a kid. I noticed some fans wanted nothing but main story episodes. I loved those. But I also loved the episodic one-offs where they found Nessie or something. Too much of the main story gets old, I think, and doesn't allow for emotional ups and downs that help us appreciate the big moments. At least, that's my approach. I was even happy to watch the not-important episodes of Lost, because it developed the characters even if they weren't getting closer to the crap being made up on the spot truth.

Do you have thoughts on arc episodes? Should there be more of them in a season? Or just a few framing the rest?

An Honest Fangirl: Arc episodes vs "filler" or Monster of the Week episodes are a little weird now. I've been bingeing The Mentalist lately (very fun show) and it’s a very predictable structure. First (maybe second) episode: Arc to kick off season. Episode sometime around Number 10-12: Arc for mid season finale. Episode 16ish: Arc for that weird three week break that always happened in March. Episodes 20+: Arc to close out the season.

Nowadays, what show has 24 episodes a season? Outside of CSI:Vegas (another cop procedural), I don't really watch any scripted shows on network TV. All of the scripted shows I watch are on streaming services, and they’ll give you 12 episodes if you're lucky. By necessity, it has to be all arc. How many shows pitch themselves as basically just being 12 hour movies now?

Samantha M. Quinn: I just finished The Mentalist, and I was ultimately happy with it. Some of the case of the week stuff was genuinely great, some not so great. I liked most of the arc stuff and of course the two big ships.

As for Supernatural, if you really want to just get the Supernatural experience, watch until the end of season five as was mentioned before. After that, if you are still into it, there is a ton more content to explore.

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Readers, what do you all think? Want to weigh in?

4 comments:

  1. I loved nearly all of it. Some of the arcs less than others, but they kept surprising me. I agree with what Mothra said about how great female characters popped up more often in the later seasons - Jodie, Rowena, Charlie, Billie, Mary returning long term, Meg returning as a more interesting character and so on. Particularly loved all the meta episodes.

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  2. Adding on to the Mentalist talk at the end: I just finished Season 5. It's fun still, but definitely feeling Red John fatigue. I guess they're going for a Charles Manson kinda vibe, but how many friends could a serial killer really have?

    Also I'm surprised at the lack of shipping, to be honest. Sure, Rigby and Van Pelt have their thing, but I stopped caring about them when they broke up for the first time. I went into this, though, thinking that I would be searching for any and all Jane/Lisbon hints, but there really hasn't been that many? Maybe they'll get more frequent once I hit the midpoint of Season 6. (Side note, I love how the episode naming convention changes then.)

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    1. I think that I was expecting it to be similar to Bones and how Bones and Booth had that undeniable spark right from the start... now I wanna rewatch Bones ...

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  3. I've officially finished the Mentalist. It was fun. Red John reveal was kinda lame. The Season 3 finale was such a high water mark that they never recaptured that. Plus Bradley Whitford was just too good. But I liked the series finale. It felt worth the time investment.

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